Sample Essay on Islamic Politics and Culture Assessment

Islamic Politics and Culture Assessment

Islamic religion is the second largest faith in the world today. Islamic faith and culture has always been seen to have great influence in the political activities of Islamic states or countries. Most of laws in Islamic states are drawn from the Islamic religious laws and therefore the religion plays a significant role in the day-to-day lives of the people. Islam religious beliefs and practices greatly influence the political governance, political ideologies, and views in the Islamic states. Even though most Islamic states draws their laws from the Islamic sheria laws, Islam just like any other faith in the world has its sects that hold different beliefs and views especially in politics and governance. In a contemporary society, any legal system requires adoption of a form of governance based on a country’s constitution. In the Islamic states, Islamic culture and faith has great influence on the political governance and ideologies. This paper is intended to examine and analyze the role of Islamic faith and culture on politics.

Pandya and Laipson 72 argue that Islamic thoughts and culture on the political realm are shared even with the non-Muslims. Although the outside world view Muslims as anti western, Pandya and Laipson 72 sharply argues that the Muslim are adopting the western culture in the political arena though without loss of identity. The modernization is seen to be playing a vital role in the current political state of the Islamic states. The argument of the role of faith in the Muslim societies is rather evident in the political development. Pandya and Laipson 73 argue that religion supports the political agenda and provides a basis of solving social issues present in the society and thus the strong relationship between the politics and religion. The political aspirations in the Muslim societies are more based on the religious values even though different political leaders and groups that form sects form varied ideologies (Pandya and Laipson 76). According to Pandya and Laipson 76, Muslim unlike other religious organizations lay emphasis on promoting political agenda based on the faith even although at times non Muslims fail to understand. Pandya also points out that most anti western sects in the Muslim faith normally argue their ideologies with regard to economical and social issues (Pandya and Laipson 77). However, this role is always overlooked or under appreciated by most people. For instance, there are Muslim political groups that were formed based on controlling the oil economy.

Another fundamental impact of Muslim faith and culture on politics is in policymaking. Most policies in Islamic societies are based on religious values developed by elite in the Muslim societies. Between the years 1947-1969, the power of Muslim elites shaped the Pakistan policies by adopting Islamic modernism and envisioning a state where democracy, minority rights, and parliament sovereignty reigned (Qasmi, 1198). In Pakistan, the slogan of Islam was used to mobilize citizens to create and independent government, which would serve both religious and economical interests of the common people in the society (Qasmi, 1211). During the entire process, the people entrusted with drafting the ideologies for the new state reached an agreement and established the new state based on the policies drafted along religious lines. In the efforts of modernizing Islam, Ahmed who spearheaded the movement revised Muslim rules regarding some issues that were affecting the then society. The main agenda of Sayyid Ahmed was to portray Islam as a religious group that shuns stagnancy and advocates for development in all aspects including managing political affairs in the country. The efforts of the activists in Pakistan saw the implementation policies drawn along religious and civil lines thus most of Pakistani laws and policies have elements of Islamic faith. In this case, Islamic values and culture thus played a vital role in the making of the new Pakistan constitution and policies to help govern the functioning of the state (Qasmi, 1218). This case forms strong evidence on how the Islam as a religion has great influence on politics and policy making in Islamic states.

The role Islam faith and culture plays in political uprisings and movements are a sector that has not been extensively studied. Over the past years, there have been political uprisings in various Islamic states to fighting for rights and even efforts of gaining the political control of various economical aspects. Hashemi examines the 2011 Arab revolution with an effort of understanding the politics and religion behind the revolutions. The 2011 uprisings were basically seeking democracy and dignity in the Islam societies. The need for political empowerment more particularly the replacement of the popular sovereignty with elite rule was the major driving force behind these uprisings (Hashemi 15). The thirst for democracy and political transparency in governance is one fundamental political factor that led to the movements demanding change in the Arab societies. This clearly demonstrates the impacts of religion on politics since the Islam societies are based on Islamic laws however, people have varied views on various aspects in the society. The history of authoritism that has been entrenched in Islam societies is based on leadership as per the Islamic law (Hashemi 19). These have led to the uprisings that are seeking a new era of political democracy and transparency in the society. The common people feel they are left behind in making policies that are beneficial to the entire society and thus the sects in these societies mobilize people to fight for their rights. In the effort to throw this kind of governance, political groups backed with the Muslim values and laws have sprung. With the crumbling old regimes and the rise of new regimes, elements of Islam religion are seen to have formed the basis of the new parties’ ideologies. This case depicts situations where the laws governing a country are misinterpreted or a few people exploit the majority politically thus creating conflicts of interest in the society.

Globalization has come along with the need for integration for both the non-Muslims and Muslim communities to facilitate trade in all manners whatsoever. Globalization has resulted to a new era of political integration too to obtain a common working ground for both communities involved and therefore the Islam values and culture is seen to have played a vital role in international politics. Globalization, which implies that the local phenomena are transformed into global to accommodate diversity, has seen Islamic states today revising their political policies (Yazdani 60). The role of Islamic culture in restructuring the political policies to accommodate diversity is still an issue that has sparked debates among scholars (Yazdani 61). Yazdani 61-68 argues that the role Islam plays in international politics is minimal however, the leaders of Islamic states have tried over the past few years to create a balance and suppress any form of political Islam that may arise. In the process, most leaders have adopted political cultures that serve their political and economic interests. Although Yazdani argues that Islam has not played a significant role in international politics, Uzuner views this issue in a different perspective. Uzuner 131 strongly argues that the Islam culture and religion has affected international politics though indirectly. The globalization characterized by changes in systems has attributed to changes in international political policies in various Islamic states. Globalization resulted into crucial need to match the changing political landscape and hence resulted into conflicting Islamic political interests and thus resulting into liberalization (Uzuner 129).

In conclusion, the impacts of Islam religious values on politics is diverse, it influences greatly on decision, policies and constitution making. Having examined some of the impacts of Islam on politics, it is clearly evident that even the uprisings experienced in most of the Islamic states  to fight for reforms have strong political and religious basis. Thus, the interrelationship between the Muslim values with politics. Very little studies have however been conducted on the impacts of Islam culture on international politics however, some scholars believe that Islam plays a vital role in international politics indirectly. Generally, Islam is one of the largest faiths in the world that has a unique relationship with politics and governance. Most of the Islamic states draw their constitution from the Islamic laws to govern the citizens. In Islam just like any other religious organization have sects with conflicting interests, this has resulted into political uprising in various Islamic states.

Works Cited

Hashemi, Nader. “The Arab Revolution of 2011: Reflections on Religion and Politics.” Insight Turkey 13.2 (2011): 15-21.ProQuest. Web. 21 Nov. 2014.

Pandya, Amit & Laipson Ellen. Islam and Politics. Renewal and Resistance In The Muslim World. (2009). Web. Retrieved from http://www.stimson.org/images/uploads/research-pdfs/IslamPolitics-Chapter_6_Pandya.pdf

Qasmi, Ali Usman. “God’s Kingdom on Earth? Politics of Islam in Pakistan, 1947-1969.” Modern Asian Studies 44.6 (2010): 1197-253. ProQuest. Web. 21 Nov. 2014.

Uzuner, Zuhal Mert. “The Rise of Radical Liberal Discourse in Turkish Foreign Policy.” Insight Turkey 16.3 (2014): 123-47.ProQuest. Web. 22 Nov. 2014.

Yazdani, Enayatollah. “Globalization and The Role Of Islam In The Post-Soviet Central Asia.” Alternatives: Turkish Journal Of International Relations 8.2 (2009): 53-69. Academic Search Premier. Web. 22 Nov. 2014.